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No Refunds?

 
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 17918
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Sat 4/18/20 3:22 pm    Post subject: No Refunds? Reply with quote

From the L.A. Times:

"The Dodgers and Angels Aren’t Playing. Shouldn’t Game Tickets Be Refunded?"

Major league teams are not refunding tickets yet for games missed this season, although that could change

By BILL SHAIKIN, STAFF WRITER
APRIL 10, 2020 10:42 AM

Friday would have been quite the celebration. Will Warren turned 40, and a party bus would have surprised him late in the afternoon, packed with a few dozen friends from the neighborhood and family members who had flown in from Illinois and Tennessee.

The bus would have headed to Dodger Stadium. It would have been time for Dodger baseball, and for Warren’s birthday bash, secretly arranged by his wife.

“She’s the one that usually gets all the big parties,” said Warren, who teaches middle school in Burbank. “She said, ‘I wanted to celebrate you for a change.’ ”

She let him in on the surprise a few weeks ago, once sports had shut down because of the coronavirus crisis. The Dodgers would not be playing the World Series champion Washington Nationals on Friday, and the Warrens proceeded to pursue a refund for more than $2,000 worth of tickets.

They’re still waiting.

The Dodgers and Angels are not automatically refunding tickets at this time, following the guidance of Major League Baseball. Neither is StubHub, the league’s official ticket resale partner.

The StubHub situation in particular has attracted the attention of a Congressional committee already investigating the ticket industry. The House Energy and Commerce Committee in February summoned representatives from StubHub and five other ticketing companies to a hearing titled “In the Dark: Lack of Transparency in the Live Event Ticketing Industry.”

Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said the committee now has asked ticket companies to provide refund policies for games and other events impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We strongly encourage each company to fully refund all consumers affected by canceled or postponed events,” Pallone said in a statement to The Times.

“Many Americans are currently facing economic hardship due to COVID-19, and consumers should not be stuck with company credits that they may have to wait many months to use, if they use them at all. Full refunds, including all ancillary fees, should be issued so fans can spend or save their money as they need during this time of national crisis.”

For now, even as it becomes increasingly unlikely that MLB can play a full season, the league lists unplayed games as postponed rather than canceled. On March 16, Commissioner Rob Manfred cited a Centers for Disease Control recommendation in saying MLB would not begin play before May 9. On March 25, Manfred told ESPN, “We’re probably not gonna be able to” complete a traditional 162-game schedule.

Warren said his wife first approached the Dodgers about a refund, but the team cited the league policy. As Warren was then told via email from MLB, the league plans on playing as many games as possible. MLB considers each postponement similar to a rainout, and the league advises fans to hold on to tickets and await the decision on a rescheduled date. The league and its players’ union are exploring an array of options, including playing rescheduled games well into October or playing the entire season solely in Arizona.

A league official, speaking on the condition he not be quoted, said teams have the flexibility to address particular cases of economic hardship.

“We still hope to have a season and are working with each fan to fit their needs,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said.

Dodgers spokesman Joe Jareck did not respond to requests for comment.

Shavonnah Schreiber, whose Houston-based SNR Creative advises athletes and teams in marketing and branding, said fans will remember how MLB — and their home teams — responded in a time of crisis. Nearly 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks.

“People have lost jobs,” she said. “Even if they haven’t lost their jobs, maybe their hours have been reduced, or clients aren’t signing contracts, or work has been canceled or delayed. Revenue and cash flow is something everyone is thinking about right now.”

So is the league, Schreiber acknowledged. But, she said, a league with $11 billion in annual revenue ought to consider the goodwill that would come from refunding tickets immediately.

“Right now, if you have a large organization and you have any ability to absorb any amount, people are almost expecting that you do,” she said, “because you are in a better position to absorb it than an individual household would be.”

In normal times, StubHub issues a refund to the buyer of an event that was called off, then recoups the sale price from the seller. At this time, with more than 40,000 events called off in the U.S. and Canada, StubHub says it does not have enough cash to pay back all the buyers before getting money back from sellers.

“It is currently impossible for us to offer immediate cash refunds to all buyers,” StubHub spokeswoman Kate Brinks said.

Instead, StubHub offered a credit for 120% of the value of an order to another event, a policy initially announced for events through the end of the year, despite the company’s “Fan Protect Guarantee” that called for a cash refund of tickets to canceled events. StubHub was sued in Wisconsin last week over that unilateral and retroactive change to its terms of service.

Brinks said Thursday that the company would extend the credit offer for events through the end of 2021. She also confirmed that StubHub would abide by the law in any state, including California, that requires a refund for a canceled event to any customer who demands one.

At this point, no Dodgers or Angels game has been officially canceled.

Warren, the teacher whose Dodger Stadium birthday party was foiled by the coronavirus, said he hoped the league could strike a balance in its ticketing policy.

“You would think they would at least give us the option to be refunded,” he said. “I can understand their position too; they’re going to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars if they have to refund all these tickets through the year. I feel bad for MLB too, but fans, hello?”

Warren said it leaves a “bad taste in his mouth” that a refund has been difficult for fans to obtain.

“I’m such a big baseball fan that it’s hard for me to hate,” he said. “I love the game so much. But I know there are people out there that must be really hurting for this money right now.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DB6 comments: I so agree with these fans. Let's face it--MLB is much more able to absorb the shortfall than many households of fans who support it. If you're asked for a refund, just give it. Even if you don't want to be pro-active and assume the position of issuing refunds, at least accommodate those requesting refunds.

These are strange times we're living in. This isn't a natural disaster, terrorist attack, etc. that may briefly delay the playing of these games. Sure, we had to wait after the 9/11 attacks and those games weren't played for a few more weeks. This isn't like a players' strike. This is something that affects all Americans! And it's coming at a time when many are out of work, which makes it worse than other weather-related events. There's no end in sight. There's no concentration in one particular area.

We need baseball. We're not getting it, and we're not getting our money back, either. That's like pouring salt in the wound.

DO SOMETHING!
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 6076
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Sat 4/18/20 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My gosh. We had tickets for opening day but we have not thought about refunds until we are sure there will be no (local) opening day. I will have to ask some of my season ticket holder friends how the Padres are handling this.
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 17918
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Tue 4/21/20 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the L.A. Times:

"MLB, Teams, Ticket Partners Sued Over Failure to Provide Refunds"

By BILL SHAIKIN, STAFF WRITER
APRIL 20, 2020 8:15 PM

Major League Baseball, its teams and its official ticket resale partner were sued Monday in federal court by two fans who have tried and failed to get refunds for games called off because of the coronavirus crisis.

The suit, which seeks the class-action certification that would enable all fans to join, demands a refund of ticket costs and ancillary fees for games that have not been played.

“While many businesses across this country have acted lawfully and ethically by providing consumers with refunds for events that will never occur during this pandemic, sometimes at the risk of bankruptcy, it remains notable that America’s pastime — baseball — is refusing to do right by its fans,” the lawsuit reads. “As stadiums remain empty for the foreseeable future, baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis.”

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. According to the suit, “well over 100" fans are prepared to make claims and alleges the “amount in controversy ... exceeds $5 million.”

The suit purports five legal violations, three specific to California law: one under the state’s consumer legal remedies act, the other two under the unfair competition law of the state’s business and professions code. The defendants are MLB, each of the 30 teams and four ticket companies, including StubHub — the league’s official resale partner — Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Last Minute Transactions.

The 2020 season was scheduled to start March 26. No new date has been set, and in the meantime, the league has floated proposals to play games without fans in attendance, including one in which every game would be played in Arizona.

The league has advised teams to list unplayed games as postponed rather than canceled and said it hopes to play as many games as possible. In turn, teams generally have advised fans to retain tickets and await a rescheduled date.

“Even if some games can be played for the 2020 MLB season, it is near certainty that no fans will attend,” the suit reads. “As such, at a minimum, the defendants should acknowledge this and recognize that its loyal fans cannot bear the entire brunt of the economic hardship of the pandemic while team owners and ticket companies keep the plaintiffs’ money.”

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
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Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Tue 4/28/20 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally some relief. From the L.A. Times:

"MLB Reverses Ticket Policy, Clearing Way for Teams to Offer Refunds to Fans"


By BILL SHAIKIN, STAFF WRITER
APRIL 28, 2020 9:40 AM

With more than 400 major league games already called off because of the coronavirus outbreak, the league Tuesday reversed a policy that had restricted fans from widespread refunds on tickets to those games.

On a conference call, Major League Baseball informed team officials that they no longer needed to advise fans to hold onto those tickets. The decision clears the way for teams to announce refund policies for the games.

The change comes one week after MLB and all 30 of its teams were named as defendants in a lawsuit over the failure to refund tickets. StubHub, the league’s official resale partner, and three other ticket outfits also were named as defendants.

MLB has listed the affected games as postponed rather than canceled, with fans advised to retain their tickets and await a rescheduled date. Refunds generally require the cancellation of an event, and team and league websites stated that MLB remained “committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.”

However, that position had become increasingly untenable. Commissioner Rob Manfred conceded on ESPN on March 25 that “we’re probably not gonna be able to” play the full 162-game schedule. On April 7, MLB issued a statement indicating that playing whatever could be salvaged of the 2020 season entirely in Arizona was “one potential option.”

Under that option, as well as alternate options that have surfaced since then, games would be played without fans, and usually far from a team’s home stadium.

“While many businesses across this country have acted lawfully and ethically by providing consumers with refunds for events that will never occur during this pandemic, sometimes at the risk of bankruptcy, it remains notable that America’s pastime — baseball — is refusing to do right by its fans,” the lawsuit reads. “As stadiums remain empty for the foreseeable future, baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis.”

In a normal year, the regular season includes 2,430 games. More than 400 have been called off, through the ones scheduled Tuesday. MLB has not announced a target date to start the season, or the second spring training that would precede it, so it is unlikely games would be played before June.
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sunnyblue



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 4/28/20 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good. Too bad it took threatening a lawsuit for them to get moving on doing something.
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dodgerblue6



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PostPosted: Mon 9/28/20 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the L.A. Times:

"StubHub, Ticketmaster Win in MLB Ticket Lawsuit"

By BILL SHAIKIN, STAFF WRITER
SEP. 15, 20205 AM

In April, when the baseball season was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak, fans sued over their inability to obtain ticket refunds for unplayed games. Now, as the abbreviated season approaches its conclusion, a court for the first time has indicated what it thinks of key claims in the lawsuit.

Not much.

StubHub, Ticketmaster and two affiliated companies were dismissed from the suit on Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer. In three weeks, Fischer is scheduled to decide whether to throw out the case entirely, as requested by Major League Baseball and its teams, the lone remaining defendants.

In April, when the suit was filed, MLB had advised teams to list unplayed games as postponed rather than canceled, leaving fans “stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis.” By July, when the league filed its response, a truncated season was underway without fans, and every team was offering fans a choice of refunds or credits.

“They have already received the refunds they seek,” the league said.

In a series of rulings Monday, Fischer upheld the StubHub and Ticketmaster contracts that require ticket buyers to settle any disputes through arbitration rather than litigation. She directed the three plaintiffs that had bought tickets from those companies to pursue any claims in arbitration.

She also dismissed StubHub and Ticketmaster from the litigation with respect to the remaining plaintiffs, who had bought tickets directly from a team. Fischer said a central claim — that the ticket companies conspired with the league to postpone rather than cancel games so as to avoid granting refunds — was not supported by concrete evidence.

“Most of the allegations stated [for that claim] are vague and follow the insufficient ‘everyone did everything’ type allegations,” Fischer wrote.
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-Baseball Hall of Fame
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